Rev. Edwin Miranda of San Luis, Honduras believes faith and education go hand-in-hand.
He is not alone.
Miranda, a Baptist minister, his family, Dilcia, an educator and Alejandro, a student, also of San Luis, have been in Marshalltown for one week.
T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY
Shown are seven residents from San Luis, Honduras at Marshalltown’s Liberty Baptist Church Friday. From left are Alejandro, Rev. Edwin Miranda, Edgardo, Jafet, Leyla, Rosario and Dilcia. The group has been in Marshalltown for one week raising funds to enable youth from the San Luis area to attend school. The group is sponsored by LBC.
Their mission, is to raise $130,000 so 321 Honduran youth living in the poor, rural, remote town of 8,000 can receive sponsorships to further their education.
Joining the Hondurans in their work is a familiar spiritual partner, Marshalltown's Liberty Baptist Church.
The church is hosting the Hondurans.
"Pastor Edwin, Dilcia and Alejandro will be in Marshalltown seven more weeks contacting civic groups, churches and individuals to raise funds for sponsorships," said Rev. Randy Mason, of LBC.
The church has an active ministry in the country which began several years ago.
The effort to provide more educational opportunities is an extension of that ministry.
Mason explained why the need is critical.
"The public schools only provide instruction through the sixth grade in rural areas," he said. "Pastor Miranda's and Dilcia's mission is to provide further education to those who would be in the 7th through 10th grade. This can only be accomplished by providing sponsorships."
The town has no running water or electricity. The average income per person annually is $800, primarily earned from harvesting coffee and bananas.
Miranda cited his initial calling to the San Luis area in 2005 as evidence the townspeople needed to be served.
"God called me to start a church in San Luis," he said.
Miranda had been serving a much larger church in country when he knew "in his heart" it was time to move on.
Critical to the Honduran's efforts is assistance from LBC.
And Mason is no stranger to ambitious goal-setting and follow-through
He and a number of devoted parishioners raised a substantial amount of money in a limited time several years ago to start LBC, and later, purchased the building at 9 N. Fifth Ave. which is now the church home.
Since its inception, the church has reached out to different cultures in the Marshalltown area.
The church has many Hispanic parishioners and a Hispanic minister is on staff to help serve them.
Mason said a number of Myanmar (formerly Burma) refugees have joined recently.
"The Honduras ministry is exciting," said church treasurer Jeff Rasmussen. "Our church has worked to embrace other cultures in Marshalltown. They have much to offer and they are eager to hear the word of God."
As a continuation of its initial Honduras ministry, LBC purchased 42 acres in San Luis in June with plans to eventually construct another church/school, a Bible institute, a college and medical clinic.
LBC, along with Pastor Edwin, now manages two churches and a school in San Luis.
LBC's efforts to continue the Honduran initiative are strongly supported by parishioners.
"Our work in Honduras is important," said member Jan Wilkinson of Marshalltown. "Jesus instructed us to go out and make others disciples. We have done this in the church's immediate neighborhood and in Honduras. The people in San Luis are hungry for God's word, and through Pastor Edwin, we are helping them receive it. The education program is critical - it will help them change the world and help them spread the word."
LBC member Rex Gunderson, who has worked in Honduras with the LBC team, echoed Wilkinson's comments.
"We are doing God's will," Gunderson said. "God wants us to share the gospel with those who have not heard it."
For more information, contact Mason at 641-752-2600 or libertybaptistofmarshalltown.org